Prepare for the inevitable. Your family will be grateful.

Nothing is more important than preparing for your burial. You can ease the burden of your passing by taking a few steps so that your family can better cope in thier time of grief. 

Scurrying around looking through files for your DD-214 is no way to leave your next of kin. Not having a DD-214 will delay the funeral home in providing a flag for your burial.

Start Your Military Service Record Request (DD Form 214 & SF-180)

Military personnel records can be used for proving military service, or as a valuable tool in genealogical research. Most veterans and their next-of-kin can obtain free copies of their DD Form 214 (Report of Separation) and other military and medical records several ways.

Use the following to request veterans' service records from WW I - Present. (Looking for Pre-WWI Service Records?)

Burial Benefits

Important Links

Requests for burial in a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) national cemetery cannot be made via the Internet.

The VA does not make funeral arrangements or perform cremations. Families should make these arrangements with a funeral provider or cremation office. Any item or service obtained from a funeral home or cremation office will be at the families expense.


For Burial in a National Cemetery

Burial benefits available include a gravesite in any of our 131 national cemeteries with available space, opening and closing of the grave, perpetual care, a Government headstone or markera burial flag, and a Presidential Memorial Certificate, at no cost to the family. Some Veterans may also be eligible for Burial Allowances PDF icon. Cremated remains are buried or inurned in national cemeteries in the same manner and with the same honors as casketed remains.

Burial benefits available for spouses and dependents buried in a national cemetery include burial with the Veteran, perpetual care, and the spouse or dependents name and date of birth and death will be inscribed on the Veteran's headstone, at no cost to the family. Eligible spouses and dependents may be buried, even if they predecease the Veteran.


Preparing in Advance

Gravesites in Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) national cemeteries cannot be reserved in advance.

You should advise your family of your wishes and where your discharge papers* are kept. These papers are very important in establishing your eligibility. You may wish to make pre-need arrangements with a funeral home.

At the time of need your family would contact a funeral home who will assist them with making burial arrangements at the national cemetery.

To schedule a burial: Fax all discharge documentation to the National Cemetery Scheduling Office at 1-866-900-6417 and follow-up with a phone call to 1-800-535-1117.


Donating Burial Flags in National Cemeteries

Most of the Department of Veterans Affairs national cemeteries display an Avenue of Flags on patriotic holidays and during special events. The Avenues consist of burial flags donated by the families of deceased Veterans and provide a unique visible tribute to all of our Nation's Veterans.

A Certificate of Appreciation is presented to the donor for providing their loved ones' burial flag to a national cemetery.

Please contact the cemetery of your choice for information on how to donate a veteran's burial flag.



For Burial in a Private Cemetery

Burial benefits available for Veterans buried in a private cemetery include a Government headstone or marker, a burial flag, and a Presidential Memorial Certificate, at no cost to the family. Some Veterans may also be eligible for Burial Allowances PDF icon. There are not any benefits available to spouses and dependents buried in a private cemetery.

Potential Questions to Ask Regarding Burial in a Private Cemetery

VA-NCA-IS-1 Interments in VA National Cemeteries PDF icon — provides information on the National Cemetery Administration's history, arranging a burial in a national cemetery, military honors, burial eligibility and locations of national and state Veterans cemeteries. Spanish version PDF icon


*Note: Link will take you outside the VA web site.